CIVIC REVIEW VISUALIZATION
Originally built in the early seventies, QueensCenter is one of the
top-grossing regional malls in the country. It is located right in the
middle of Queens, which is "home to a vast multi-cultural, socio-economic
and ethnically diverse population. Over 2.2 million people reside in 778,034
households within a 5 mile radius."1
While planning a major expansion in 2002, the design team at CommArts
encountered an unanticipated degree of concern and contention from both
the community and the local planning review board. As so frequently happens
with projects of this scale, the concerns centered around how the proposed
expansion would affect the quality of the surrounding urban fabric. Would
it block sunlight of the nearby residential buildings? Would the larger
building be inappropriately sized in relation to its surroundings?
The set of design drawings that had been first presented to the public
were complete, but they had been meant for a different audience; the owners
and management team of the mall. The drawings didn't communicate well
to the general public, and didn't address their specific concerns.
To help remedy the situation, I was asked to create a series of images
showing the project in context. The first step was to take photographs
of the areas and views in question. I then created a rough massing model
of the building and matched the perspective angle to the photos. Once
the photos and model renderings are masked appropriately, they were
layered to provide an accurate and believable representation of what the
final project would look like. Upon presentation of these images, the project
was immediately approved.
Despite that fact that the work I do usually represents the developer's
side of things, I believe that people are right to be concerned and vocal
about the development that goes on in their communities. There have been
too many inappropriately sized or poorly designed projects built that
place commercial gain over the quality of life of the local residents.
The burden is on development teams not only to create quality projects,
but to make their case to the public.
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